I have just returned from my last tour in Southern Africa and this time it was with a small group to Fika Futi Lodge in Mashatu, Botswana. Fika Futi was a farm house in a previous life but is now run by a syndicate whose members enjoy this rustic lodge complete with their own staff a game viewing vehicle and ranger. For anyone interested in wildlife and bird watching this truly is a place to experience.
The game and bird viewing was outstanding and we were treated to some extraordinary sightings not least a lion kill. On one of our many drives we spotted a number of lion cubs running within a wooded area and naturally we followed and we came across two lionesses that had just taken down a female Eland and had called in their cubs. Both lionesses (who are sisters) had cubs around the same time and our Ranger told us that they were now around 8 months old. One of the lions and all the cubs started to feed on the Eland and it was wonderful to watch the cubs trying to get something to eat and in the case of one of the cubs trying out his skills at killing the Eland, The lioness walked away from the kill and sat down near her sister and within a couple of minutes both of them sat up and looked into the distance and there they were, a second herd of Eland walking on the edge of the wooded area. The lionesses were on the hunt again. One went to the left and down into a small dry river bed while the other went to the right to come up behind the Eland. It happened so fast, the Eland ran and the lion at the back was the first to strike and take down a baby Eland, breaking it’s neck and leaving it. She then joined her sister who had also taken down an Eland, this time a large female. It was incredible. As we sat on the open vehicle we were taking photos and video of the event, to the front was the two lionesses with the large female Eland who was still struggling, to the rear of the vehicle was the baby Eland who now had all the cubs over it and to our left we had the first Eland kill. Common Elands are the second largest antelopes in the world with a female weighing unto 600 kilograms and for two lionesses to take down an animal so large shows tremendous hunting skills but to take down three in 15 minutes is very impressive. I don’t think these cubs will go hungry.
I will post a video of this event and other photos on my website for anyone interested.
Other sightings during our week at Mashatu were many and varied. We sat at the hide one morning and watched Giraffes, Kudu, Impala and Warthog come down to drink. It is so impressive to see Giraffes bend their long legs and lower their necks to drink, not an easy feat when you are so tall. The bird life at the hide was also varied and among the many sightings were the Quelea birds swarming as they come down to drink and in such numbers that all you see is this dark mass which consists of very small birds, moving as one as they come down skim the water and off they go again. You do become quite mesmerised by it.
We also spent time with a female Cheetah and her four cubs as they walked across the plains on the hunt for breakfast. The cubs are around seven months old and have just about lost all their baby fur and are looking like miniatures of their mum. Cats were very much the order of the day during our week at Mashatu what with the lions and then three sightings of Leopards, one having a meal of Impala and the other two sleeping on the branches of a tree and then an African Wild Cat. These small cats look just like a domestic cat, slightly larger with a dark stripes on the legs and a dark tail and they are normally very shy only coming out to hunt at night, The one we saw was just sitting out in the open soaking up the sun and it is the first time I have ever had the chance to sit for some time and watch this small cat.
Along with lots of Elephants, Zebras and Impalas we saw baby Jackals and Hyenas and this was also something special. The bush is always showing you something, you just have to sit and watch.
I have tours to Fika Futi in May and September 2019 and there is still limited space available, just contact me if you are interested.